SRINAGAR: – Broadband internet service of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was restored Tuesday afternoon after remaining suspended for three days while the gag on mobile internet continued in the Kashmir valley.
Broadband services provided by private operators, including CNS also remained suspended.
Meanwhile, restoration of BSNL broadband internet service has brought some relief though majority of the people, particularly media, students and other professionals, living in the valley continued to suffer as uncertainty remains when it will be suspended again.
The broadband internet and mobile phone services were suspended thrice prior to this gag for around 25 days.
For around a month, the only mobile service functional in Kashmir valley was BSNL while pre-paid services of all cellular companies were restored after a span of three months on October 15 last year.
The mobile internet services for post-paid connections were restored on November 19 last year after a gag of about six months. Similarly, mobile internet services for prepaid connections were restored in Kashmir on January 27, six months after they were suspended.
Meanwhile, due to suspension of internet service, media organisations were hit badly. Media persons, working with national and international organizations, were forced to file their stories about Kashmir situation over the phone.
NEED OF HOUR
Stating that blocking internet in the Kashmir Valley is the need of the hour, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, S. P. Vaid on Tuesday justified ban saying without banning the internet things will be out of control.
Because the mischief mongers use the internet to spread rumours, instigate youth on social media to come on the locations and create law and order problems, so that is why Internet is being banned, Dr Vaid told Kashmir Observer.
To avoid any kind of violence, Mobile Internet including broadband services was suspended across Kashmir on the midnight of April 8, on the eve of by-polls to Srinagar parliamentary seat. Violence still broke out on large scale that left eight people dead and hundreds injured.
When asked about the violence taking place despite internet blockade, Vaid said, I am not here to argue with you.
DGP blamed Pakistan for inciting violence in the Valley.
Pakistan is instigating our youth through the social media including Whatsapp groups to indulge in the stone pelting and other violent activities, but we will try our best to counter their propaganda and will ban internet when ever need arises, he said.
Interestingly Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu on Saturday asked state police not take any hasty decision on banning internet services for by-poll to Srinagar Parliamentary constituency.
“Election commission’s own webcast won’t work if internet is banned on the polling day,” J&K CEO said.
Earlier, the service was suspended after massive protests erupted against the killing of popular militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.
28 internet shutdowns since 2012
Netizens, including journalists meanwhile reacted sharply against state governments decision to snap internet services once again.
After almost 45 hours internet is restored to media in Kashmir. Rest of Kashmir still lives in dark ages wrote journalist Shams Irfan on his Facebook page.
Internet shutdowns violate citizens right to freedom of speech and expression and are inherently damaging to democratic institutions, wrote Danish Mushtaq, a student on his wall.
Brave, vibrant and largest democracy has surrendered before the will of the people. Internet services, as per reports, will be suspended from midnight to ensure “free and fair” by-election. Battle of ideas! Ballot of deception wrote another Journalist Gowhar Geelani
Ban #Internet to ensure fair and free elections. That is Indian Democracy for you!, wrote a businessman Javid Parsa.
A Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) in its report on February 08 said, Jammu and Kashmir saw 27 internet shutdowns since 2012
The data provided by SFLC says that since 2012 there have been 62 incidents of internet shutdowns across various regions in 12 states of India, with 30 being reported in 2016 itself, and four instances in the first month of 2017. J&K has experienced 28 internet shutdowns including April 09 of this month since 2012 highest for any other Indian state, with nine such incidents reported in 2016
Businesses and public sector services across Kashmir were badly hit, when internet was banned during summer unrest when the internet services remained suspended almost for seven months.
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